Why You Should Keep Your AC Condenser Unit Clean, And How To Do It

Posted on: 24 April 2017

The condenser unit for your central air system sits outside of your home. Because of its exposure to the elements and nature, you must take some time now and then to make sure it's clean.

Why You Need to Keep the Condenser Unit Clean

Your AC condenser unit contains essential parts that contribute to the overall efficiency of your air conditioning system.

  • The compressor
  • Cooling fins
  • A fan
  • Condenser coil

Since the condenser sits outside, it's prone to attracting all types of dirt and debris. Even insects and animals may try to nest in it. All of these things can cause the unit to slow down and perform inefficiently. Your AC will try to work harder to compensate, and your electric bill will grow accordingly.

If left unchecked, debris can lead to damage and system failure. That's why it's important you keep it clean. Besides, of all your home maintenance duties, cleaning the outside AC unit isn't all that difficult or time-consuming.

How to Clean Outside AC Condenser

Several steps go into cleaning the unit. For many people, just keeping the outside clean can work well between official inspections, cleanings, and servicing from an AC repair technician.

Power down the unit – The condenser may have a power switch or shut off valve near it. Otherwise, turn it off from the breaker.

Clean up visible debris – Start by clearing out any visible debris on or around the unit. This can include sticks, grass clippings, random trash, or whatever else you find there.

Remove the top access panel/grille – You may require a screwdriver, but at this point you should take the removable top off the condenser. There's a fan attached to the panel. Free it of any debris or dirt you find on it as well.

Vacuum and rinse the cooling fins – The fan sucks in a lot of debris, which then becomes stuck throughout the cooling fins. It's okay to vacuum both inside and out. Do it gently, you don't want to bend the fins. You can use a hose to rinse and clear out anything that remains.

That's really all there is to it. It's enough to keep air flowing smoothly and the unit working as it should. In fact, these periodic cleaning will go a long way towards maintaining the life of your air conditioner.

While these cleanings help, they're not a substitute for having a professional come to take a look at your whole system once a year. In addition, not all condenser units have the same features. If you're unsure of how to remove a panel or get inside of yours, then consult the manufacturer's website, or speak to an air conditioning repair technician at a place like Cape Fear Air Conditioning & Heating Co., Inc.


Summer is Upon Us – Is Your AC Working?

Hi. My name is Laurie Waters. The HVAC contractor was just out at our house last week and did I ever get a lesson from him. You see, we had a warm spell hit and I went to turn our air conditioning on for the first time since last summer. Much to my dismay, it wasn’t working. All I got was a blast of warm air. The fan was bringing the outdoor heat inside. Thank goodness it wasn’t anything major. My unit needed Freon. While he was here, the contractor taught me how to do some routine maintenance around my unit, vents, and filters. I’m going to share this information with you. I hope you find it to be useful.

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